Easiest Christmas dinner ever ever ever - any tips & ideas?(35 Posts)
I realize my situation isn't one that lots of people will say 'yes that's me and we do X, x and x'...
But I'm hoping (pleading!) that the expert Christmassers of mumsnet will have some ideas to share?!
I'll be putting on Christmas this year, and not sure how I'm going to manage, but its important that I make this special somehow...
Long story short, how do I do a really proper Christmas dinner without killing myself?
I am disabled (as of 5 yrs ago), DS is 5yrs old, and my mother will be staying too (unfortuneately).
I have carers everyday, except not for Xmas day or Boxing Day.
This year will be HARD. My father died last year over Christmas. Last year was spent staying at friends close to the hospital and it was awful. I need to give DS better Christmas memories and make him feel normal for a while.
My mother is coming to stay, which will be important to DS, although I have a terrible relationship with her. Incredibly unstable and unpleasant person. If things were more normal I'd have cut her off years ago. She won't be helping at all. At best I hope she will sit with DS whilst I go for a lie down.
Soooo, easiest Christmas ever? And how to not get left with a unusable kitchen after? Though bulk of clearing up can wait til carers return day after Boxing Day...
I am disabled too.
You need a freezer and do it ahead of time.
Are you an aunt Bessie or diy person?
If you can afford it,just buy it in from m&s.
All pre made and just requires binging in oven or microwave.
Sure it might be a fraction less good than from scratch but stress free.
You can get "home made" ready meals - more special than usual, but easy to bung un I've / microwave (& possibly in disposable containers, reducing washing up). Not sure what called - something like just eat?
A nice easy Christmas sounds like a great idea. Sainsburys are advertising their Christmas food now, with lots of accompaniments that just need to get bunged in the oven ttps://christmasfood.sainsburys.co.uk/product/7712861/co-ttd-veg-selection-2-5kg-serves-4-6
I think that you have to pick up rather than getting it delivered, but I'm sure the other supermarkets will do something similar.
Hope you have a better Christmas this year.
Www.cookfood.net Frozen Christmas dinner delivered to you
As much as possible in advance.
Cook a ham - do it the day before, much easier than a turkey
Red cabbage and potato dauphinois can be prepped in advance and frozen, then put in oven.
Carrots and beans only on the stove top on the day.
Ready made gravy, stuffing and pigs in blankets if you want. Store bought pudding and custard. Don't bother with a starter or cheese, pick one wine for dinner.
Carve out time in the day to open gifts calmly and spend time with the DCs so it's not a mad rush of people and presents
Would second M&S food. Cook it in the trays and then throw them away afterwards. Cook the veg in bags in the microwave so you should only be left with plates, dishes and cutlery. If you can't get out to M&S a delivery from Sainsburys would give you the same sort of options.
Use takeaway style tin foil or plastic containers, then chuck.
Don't do loads of veg. Aunt Bessie roast potatoes are perfectly acceptable as is bought gravy. If you like turkey then buy a pre-stuffed crown. No starter - just some bought canapés / snacks. Bought Xmas pud / mince pies. Deffo use disposable foil trays.
A neughbour of mine who is also disabled has meals from here and says they are tasty and good quality.
It seems they have a Christmas menu too.
Buy it all in if you can afford it - waitrose will even deliver it all to your door in foil trays ready to bung straight in the oven. I'm not disabled but can be lazy!
If you don't buy in do a chicken or a ham, much easier to lift and handle and cooks in much less time. Roasties and most veg can all be done one to two days before and then finished off. Buy the gravy! But saying all of that I would just buy in from m and s or Sainsbury and have it delivered. Agree with cooking in things that you can throw away too especially if you're not expecting help
How much easier do you want to make it?
Depending on your budget you can get it all made already from Wiltshire Farmfoods or Waitrose party catering.
Or you can have everything readymeal style from M+S.
If you are doing slightly more then turkey crown, readymade stuffing balls, Aunt Bessies roasties, jar cranberry sauce, packet ready chopped veg.
You can do the whole hog and make it yourself as almost everything lends itself to being done in advance but there will be far more cleaning up.
Finally use paper plates and chuck them in the bin after.
Nothing to add really except - Don't buy too much food. How many are you cooking for, just the three of you? Keep it nice/tasty but simple.
Sorry that your mum won't help.
If it is just the 3 of you, why not just make food you truly love and forget about all those stressful expectations!
I suggest buying a classy ready meal, then go completely over the top for dessert
You buy it from M&S. They do ready wrapped pigs in blankets, stuffing balls, bread and cranberry sauces. You can probably buy pre-prepped veg too. All you need to do is check timings for when it all goes in the oven/needs steaming, which is no more difficult than any other dinner.
Ready made mince pies with ready made brandy butter, cheese and crackers and chocs. If you want a pudding in flames, get someone else to bring and sort out that part of the dinner. (Though if it is properly pre cooked, Christmas pud doesn't need to team for two hours - you can heat it in a microwave then splash some warmed brandy round it and light it.
In one tray I chuck in small potoates (now peeled). Whole carrots, peeled and both ends chopped off. Same with parsnips. A couple of onions that have been halved. And the meat and season. Cover with foil, around 180. Towards the end, take off the foil to brown the meat. Take meat out and leave to rest, and drain any juice into a jug. Mix up the veg and whack up the heat to brown.
In a steamer some other veg.
All cooks itself with minimal input from me.
Other guests bring macaroni etc. If they don't, the above is sufficient..
Probably help we don't do the pigs in blankets and
Cabbage, onions and stuff are out of a jar.
If you want to do a bit at a time yourself and present it all home done on the day, i don't know how much you feel abke to do so this is my do in advance list:
Disposable baking trays (pound store or similar)
Par boil roasts, fluff, cool put on disposable tray, drizzle oil over, cover and freeze.
Peel and chop in big chunks carrots, parsnip, red onion (and if you've got any a sprig of rosemary and thyme goes well) cover and freeze on another tray.
Prep brussel sprouts par boil cool and freeze in a bag or microwave ready pot.
Pigs in blankets and stuffing balls wrapped in streaky bacon on another tray freeze.
Many shops do a turkey breast roast thats in a tin ready to pop in the oven - some from frozen.
Then on Xmas day most is straight from freezer into oven with exception of pigs in blankets and stuffing tray that would need to defrost.
There are so many amazing frozen puds around would you be happy with some shop bought?
You could do canapés instead of a starter if you want to have bits to snack on. Again it could be in advance frozen and defrost and serve stuff.
To finish the meal we do a bit of a cheese, berry fruit and chocolates platter. It just stays out for the rest of the afternoon and slowly disappears. You could go for minature wrapped cheeses and little packs of crackers (my 4 year old DD goes mad for things like babel and mini ched towers) the DC also like the chocolate coins off the cheese board.
You could include stollen, mince pies and Christmas cake and make it a mamouth second course pudding/ cheese board.
The important bits (I think) for my DC are candles on the table (doesn't happen often), crackers and winning a toy, wearing a silly hat, not having to clear their plates when their eyes are bigger than their bellies, family, not being told off for having more than one chocolate, talking about the year and their gifts (we don't buy big stuff at Christmas its more lots of little things). I quite like doing little table presents too - stocking filler type stuff, sometimes a little box tied with a ribbon and a chocolate tree decoration (ultimate naughtiness to eat chocolate before your main course).
If you want to have food for later simple sandwiches freeze well as do pork pies, ready cooked chicken nuggets and sausage rolls. You could make up a platter, freeze and again defrost in the fridge on Christmas day and then have ready to just serve with crisps and cake.
Great advice above so I will only add: don't overthink it. It's a roast dinner with an extra, bought, tray of pigs in blankets and stuffing balls. The M&S route might be just the job, but if not you can do it from a normal supermarket shop with a chicken, frozen potatoes, parsnips and yorkshire puddings, and ready prepped fresh veg. Our day runs thus:
breakfast: smoked salmon, scrambled eggs, bread with real butter, lots of OJ
lunch: roast dinner with a couple of extra bits. Microwaved, bought christmas pud with cream
dinner: loaf of bread, crackers, cheese, mince pies, satsumas, grapes
Also you can do a small ham in the slow cooker overnight and live on leftover chicken and ham for the next couple of days. We always do a couple of days of pasta carbonara which is lovely with slow cooked ham. Or just get a couple of packs of naice ready cooked ham.
I don't think you need to fret about making it special. It will be, because it's christmas. DS will have his presents, there'll be a couple of good films on. We do DCs' stockings before breakfast and the rest of the presents wait until after. Don't feel you have to do everything. For example we've skipped a christmas cake the last couple of years. We have christmas pud and tonnes of mince pies & satsumas, and that's enough.
The things that make Christmas cooking difficult are (1) doing giant turkeys that take hours and fill the oven and (2) doing tonnes of complicated extras - bread sauce, red cabbage, cranberry etc etc. Neither of those things are necessary to having the perfect christmas for a family of 3.
Cook also deliver frozen Christmas prepared food and give instructions on timings.http://www.cookfood.net/menu/christmas
You can avoid the roast - we have sausage, mash and cranberry sauce and it's fab - easy and stomach settling after all the chocolate.
If you want an easy roast, Costco do a whole Christmas dinner on platters all carved etc. they are good value £20? For 4 people.
Cook your meat the night before. Frozen Roast Potatoes, frozen Mash, frozen parsnips, frozen veg and frozen batter puds if you like them. A cold sweet also from the freezer or fridge.
A nice relaxing morning with presents.
1 hour before lunch take meat from Fridge, put on spuds. Make a time plan for everything else, so that you know exactly when to put it it on. make the gravy in plenty of time.
Get Ma and DS to lay table, Enjoy the lunch and leave the washing up.
Buy lots of tin foil dishes to,save on washing up.
Wow so many good ideas, am feeling slightly overwhelmed
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